Some people like to spend their money on clothes, others on the latest Apple gear or rarely used gym memberships. Well I like to spend my money on food and that's exactly what I did on my final day of uni this year. The final few days before October foodie month finishes, I was pretty excited to hear a confirmation call a week before the Hat's off dinner after spending the entire month feeling disappointed over mistakenly believing I didn't get the reservation in on time. Seriously, Quay books out.
|Parfait with Brioche|
After we finished the dish, the roof oddly started leaking onto our table. 3 chef hat restaurant right there. But the waiters were incredibly apologetic and after moving us to a comfier table, all was forgiven.
But hey, then came the actual bread and butter. The serving of bread was a bit stingy, but good things come in small packages. The bread was wonderfully nutty and I looked onto the butter, bemused at the perfectly quinelled roll of easily spreadable butter.
|Young beetroot, warm goat's curd,|
prune, licorice and spelt
Favourite dish of the night for A, she could just not figure out why she liked it so much. I, myself, did find much of the appeal from the overall earthiness. The goat's curd was enticingly aerated and light and didn't have an overpowering cheesy flavour. The beetroot and prune were incredibly juicy. Not a big fan of licorice but the hits of licorice were bearable and even necessary to accentuate the interesting earthy marriage of beetroot and goat's curd.
|A Trip to Tokyo|
Dashi custard, squid, yuzu, roasted rice, smoked eel broth
|Smoked rainbow trout,|
rye, watercress, Jerusalem artichoke, horseradish curd
|Wild hare, rose, white asparagus|
|Over the Hump|
48 hr braised Brahman hump, grilled cabbage, warm truffle vinaigrette
A melt in your mouth meringue roll housed a smooth and intensely concentrated mandarin sorbet. The meringue was impossibly light and seemed to just disintegrate on your tongue leaving nothing but a gentle sweetness. Underneath that was what seemed to be a gorgeous and unbelievably soft pannacotta thingy. This sat on top of a pool of nicely tart mandarin sauce to combine the components with an even more acidic mandarin flakes. Seriously, I have never tasted mandarin that sour but it worked perfectly to counter the sweetness. The jelly on the end was deceptively heavy in mandarin in flavour. To round it all out, a line of mandarin snow reinforced the seasonality and freshness of spring and was finished by a vibrantly yellow pansy.
It's hard to compare between this dish and the guava snow egg I had last year. The appeal of the snow egg to me was its deceptively simplistic use of one star ingredient to create such a beautiful and harmonious snow egg dish while the appeal of this dish was the complexity and ability for many unique components, textures and flavours possible from the one ingredient. It's made me reconsider what my favourite sort of flavours are because I am usually a big fan of bitter and rich flavours like chocolate. I'm gonna stop rambling now.
You really get a sense of Quay's philosophy through their food and environment. Texture and inspiration through nature. It's prevalent with: its presentation- an almost Japanese sense of presentation with it's pristine, colourful yet simple arrangement of food and use of flowers as garnish and it's immense respect for the textures and subtlety of flavours of ingredients. With each mouthful, your biting into something different and exciting. The dark and moody lighting was, in reference to my advanced English years (see I did learn something), a double edged sword. With such beautiful food and interesting crockery, you need clear lighting to fully appreciate it. But as the night dragged out, I really believed it was absolutely essential to create that "Quay" intimate ambiance. In contrast to my previous visit to the restaurant, the staff were much more loose and jovial. Our waitress for the night was wonderfully informative and conversational without being intrusive and was so good, we were fretting over not having enough money to tip her.
Despite the energetic night that Hat's Off is with the booze seemingly free flowing inspiring a particularly rowdy group of diners opposite, Quay to me is the sort of place that time grinds down to an immeasurable halt. The outside world and all technologies lay forgotten and irrelevant to me while I was in there and seemingly miles away. The feeling of watching the ferries cruise away from the harbor and docking in, to the almost therapeutic bobbing of waves and watching the Opera house stand proud and tall, lights and all, against the dark night sky is indescribable. Some dishes were a miss, but others were spectacular and when you considered that this is the first time these dishes have been cooked, you begin to appreciate the versatility of the chefs behind Quay. To the sous chef that prepared both of my favourite dishes of the night (the squid and mandarin), Analiese Gregory- my hat's off to you. Quay was truly magical.
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